Getting your truck ready for winter is wicked important if you live on the East Coast. Failure to plan ahead will leave you stranded, walking in the cold and ice – and no one wants that.
What sort of steps should you take to get your truck ready for winter?
Your coolant does not need to be changed every year, but it should have the level and the temperature range checked. If the mixture is not right, adjust it accordingly. The old standby of 50/50 water and antifreeze is not always accurate these days, so check your owner’s manual. Make sure to not mix types of coolant. Easy way to keep it straight is to not mix colors. Other fluids should be checked at this time as well. Differentials, transfer case, brake fluid (should be changed every 2 years) and washer fluid… Always washer fluid!
Change your oil every 3 months or at the recommended mileage. Heat breaks down oil, and it can become gummy or watery. When this happens, it can’t lubricate properly. The longer it's in the engine, the dirtier it gets. Replacing old oil with new fixes all these problems. The fresh oil lubricates and cools the engine better. When you flush the old oil out, you flush out the dirt and grit. Make sure to replace the filter at the same time. There is no better thing you can do for your engine.
Tune Up and Filters
Younger trucks don’t need a tune up as often as older trucks, but this is the time to check. Check your mileage and compare it to the recommended schedule. While you are still under the hood, check all your filters. Air, fuel, breather and your PCV valve (if equipped). Change if needed.
Electrical systems can freeze if they are in bad shape once the frost settles in. It is smart to have your battery and electrical systems checked out as winter arrives, most parts stores will perform tests for free. Take advantage of the service before it gets too cold out.
Check and rotate your tires. The air pressure in your tires will change with the changing temperatures, and to keep your fuel mileage at its best, keep your tires filled to the specification that is listed on your door tag (not on the tire). Rotating them regularly will help get the most miles out of them. While your tires are off, have your brakes checked. This is also the right time to have your alignment checked and corrected if needed. This will show if you need any front suspension work, and may save your tires as well. Now is also the time to check your snow chains, try them on and don’t forget about the tensioners.
Lastly, don’t forget the items that are important to keep in your truck: tow rope, kitty litter, shovel, blanket and some emergency food. That should keep you ready and safe for the upcoming weather. Good luck, hope you make through another East Coast winter!